North Carolina is the 9th most populous state and ranks in the top 20 in terms of restaurants per capita. Depending on who you speak to, the Tarheel State is also known as the “Seafood Capital” (Calabash) and “Barbecue Capital” (Pulled Pork) of the World. Given those distinctions and others, it is no surprise that North Carolina would be home to some of the country’s most recognizable restaurants. Here’s our list of restaurant brands that had their beginnings in the State of North Carolina.
- Hardee’s started in Greenville, North Carolina
Known for the size of their burgers and edgy marketing campaigns, the first restaurant opened in Greenville, NC. In less than a year, the first franchised restaurant opened in Rocky Mount, NC and there are now 1850+ locations.
- Bojangles’ started in Charlotte, North Carolina
This southern-style chicken and biscuit chain got its start in Charlotte, NC and it currently has 750+ restaurant locations. In November 2018, it announced the extension of its naming rights agreement for Bojangles Coliseum through 2028.
- Golden Corral started in Fayetteville, North Carolina
Featuring an endless buffet in a family friendly environment, the first Golden Corral opened 45+ years ago in Fayetteville, NC. The chain supports a week long camp for the children of wounded/fallen military families and has 450+ locations.
- Krispy Kreme started in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
North Carolinians were some of the first to experience this global phenomenon. The first Krispy Kreme opened in Winston-Salem, NC. Its doughnuts can now be purchased at retail stores or ordered online from its 300+ restaurant locations.
- Cook Out started in Greensboro, North Carolina
Cook Out is to North Carolina what Shake Shack is to NYC. The first restaurant opened in Greensboro, NC on Randleman Road in 1989. There are currently 200+ locations with its legendary burgers, BBQ, hot dogs and shakes on the menu.
- Duck Donuts started in Duck, North Carolina
Although based in the State of Pennsylvania, the town of Duck, NC was the site of the first Duck Donuts location 13 years ago. The fast-growing franchise has 65+ locations currently open with over 140 locations slated for future development.
- Biscuitville started in Burlington, North Carolina
Locally owned and operated since 1966, the first Biscuitville was spun off from a small chain of pizza restaurants in the Burlington, NC area. The company moved its corporate headquarters to Greensboro, NC in 2002 and has over 50 locations.